Consonances Between Liberalism and Pragmatism

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This paper is an attempt to identify certain consonances between contemporary liberalism and classical pragmatism. I identify four of the most trenchant criticisms of classical liberalism presented by pragmatist figures such as James, Peirce, Dewey, Addams, and Hocking: that liberalism overemphasizes negative liberty, that it is overly individualistic, that its pluralism is suspect, that it is overly abstract. I then argue that these deficits of liberalism in its historical incarnations are being addressed by contemporary liberals. Contemporary liberals, I show, have taken on board a surprising number of classical pragmatist insights and have responded to a surprising number of classical pragmatist criticisms. I thus argue that both contemporary pragmatism and contemporary liberalism have much to gain by joining forces.
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Archival date: 2013-09-23
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